Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL)

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Content and language integrated learning

Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) involves teaching a curricular subject through the medium of a language other than that normally used. The subject can be entirely unrelated to language learning, such as history lessons being taught in English in a school in Spain. CLIL is taking place and has been found to be effective in all sectors of education from primary through to adult and higher education. Its success has been growing over the past 10 years and continues to do so.

Teachers working with CLIL are specialists in their own discipline rather than traditional language teachers. They are usually fluent speakers of the target language, bilingual or native speakers. In many institutions language teachers work in partnership with other departments to offer CLIL in various subjects. The key issue is that the learner is gaining new knowledge about the ‘non-language’ subject while encountering, using and learning the foreign language. The methodologies and approaches used are often linked to the subject area with the content leading the activities.

Benefits of CLIL

CLIL’s multi-faceted approach can offer a variety of benefits. It:

* builds intercultural knowledge and understanding
* develops intercultural communication skills
* improves language competence and oral communication skills
* develops multilingual interests and attitudes
* provides opportunities to study content through different perspectives
* allows learners more contact with the target language
* does not require extra teaching hours
* complements other subjects rather than competes with them
* diversifies methods and forms of classroom practice
* increases learners’ motivation and confidence in both the language and the subject being taught

EU initiatives to support learning through languages (CLIL)

Owing to its effectiveness and ability to motivate learners, CLIL is identified as a priority area in the Action plan for Language Learning and Linguistic Diversity (Section 1 1.2). The European Symposium on “The Changing European Classroom – the Potential of Plurilingual Education,” held in March 2005 in cooperation with the Luxemburg Presidency recalled the need to ensure that pupils and students receive CLIL provision at different levels of school education. It was also emphasised that teachers should receive special training in CLIL. That same year, the EU published an in-depth study pdf – 3 MB [3 MB] español (es) français (fr) italiano (it) lietuvių kalba (lt) magyar (hu) polski (pl) slovenčina (sk) into how CLIL is taking place in schools throughout Europe. The EU has also supported many CLIL projects pdf – 2 MB [2 MB] français (fr) .
Taking CLIL further

The Lifelong Learning Programme offers opportunities and grants to help schools and teachers set up and take part in international CLIL projects.

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